UK legislator pans no-guitar prison policy

Generic Jail Cell
Voting with a criminal record (WDTN Photo)

LONDON (AP) — A guitar-loving British legislator has challenged a policy that he says makes it impossible for prisoners to play steel-stringed or electric guitars.

The Labour Party’s Kevin Brennan Tuesday cited singers Johnny Cash and Billy Bragg as people who helped bring music into prisons for rehabilitative purposes.

He said government policy was making it more difficult for prisoners to develop their musical skills.

Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright said he wants prisoners to be able to play guitars solo or in groups but that “some restrictions” had to be imposed.

There are fears that steel strings could be used as weapons.

Wright said he would review regulations to make sure they are appropriate.

One of Cash’s most famous songs, “Folsom Prison Blues”, depicts the plight of a convicted murderer stuck in prison. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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